Reality competition shows like “American Idol” have given seriously talented people a platform to launch careers in the entertainment industry — i.e., Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Simply having the opportunity to perform on television for millions can be life-changing, but contestants aren’t judged by just anyone.
Entertainment industry icons — i.e., singers, actors, industry executives — serve as judges and coaches on these shows, using their expertise to help contestants hone their craft. These panels typically contain a star-studded lineup, but some featured celebrities are significantly wealthier than others.
In some cases, sky-high paychecks from serving as a coach or judge on these shows clearly pad the celebrity’s net worth. However, others have their hands in so many projects, their television salary is likely just a portion of their annual earnings. From “The Voice” to “America’s Got Talent,” here’s a look at TV stars who have amassed the largest fortunes.
John Legend Net Worth: $75 Million
Best known for his hit single “All of Me,” John Legend joined NBC’s “The Voice” in 2019. He currently serves as a coach on the 19th season of the hit competition series. His salary on the series hasn’t been made public. However, Variety named Legend its 2020 “Music Mogul of the Year,” citing his annual earnings at $50 million to $100 million.
The multitalented Legend is part of an elite group that has achieved EGOT status — meaning he’s won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards — as there’s seemingly nothing he can’t do. His empire includes music publishing, royalties, endorsements, film and TV products and a wine business, according to Variety.
Blake Shelton Net Worth: $100 Million
A long-time coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” Blake Shelton is back for the show’s 19th season. The country music superstar reportedly earns $13 million per season for his work on the hit reality series.
He’s scored 27 No. 1 country singles, including his latest “God’s Country.” His 20-show 2019 “Friends and Heroes” tour grossed an average of $963,215 per show, ranking him on Pollstar’s list of Top 100 Worldwide Tours.
Shelton is engaged to Gwen Stefani, a fellow coach on “The Voice.” The couple has released two duets “Happy Anywhere” and “Nobody But You,” which peaked at No. 6 and No. 1, respectively on the Billboard charts.
Gwen Stefani Net Worth: $150 Million
Rockstar Gwen Stefani is back as a coach on the 19th season of NBC’s “The Voice,” but her salary remains unknown. The three-time Grammy winner has enjoyed success as both a solo artist and the lead singer of “No Doubt.” She also scored a Las Vegas residency, “Gwen Stefani – Just a Girl” in 2018, that gave her a $5.5 million payday over just 12 shows, according to Pollstar.
Also a style icon, the “Hollaback Girl” singer helms fashion labels L.A.M.B., Harajuku Lovers and eyewear line gx by Gwen Stefani.
Luke Bryan Net Worth: $160 Million
Country music superstar Luke Bryan has been a judge on ABC’s “American Idol” since 2018. The “Knockin’ Boots” singer earned $45.5 million in 2020, according to Forbes. This includes $12 million per season for his work on “American Idol” and an average gross of more than $1 million per show during his “Proud to Be Right Here Tour” — which was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, Bryan has sold more than 10 million albums, 40 million singles and fans have streamed his songs more than 3 billion times.
Heidi Klum Net Worth: $160 Million
More than just a pretty face, supermodel Heidi Klum has found massive success in reality TV competition shows. She’s currently a judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and co-creator, host and executive producer on Amazon Prime Video’s “Making the Cut.”
Along with licensing deals like her Heidi Klum Intimates line and clothing collection at supermarket chain Lidl, Klum’s full schedule allowed her to earn $39.5 million in 2020, according to Forbes. Previously, she also served as host, co-creator and executive producer of “Project Runway” for 16 seasons. She also hosted and executive produced “Germany’s Next Top Model” for 14 seasons.
Sofia Vergara Net Worth: $180 Million
When the long-running sitcom “Modern Family” came to an end in 2020 Sofia Vergara became a judge on the 15th season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” The busy actress also has a line of jeans at Walmart and furniture at Rooms To Go, which earned her a total of $43 million in 2020, according to Forbes.
Salary information for her AGT gig hasn’t been made public, but by the time “Modern Family” came to an end, she was earning $500,000 per episode, according to Variety.
Lionel Richie Net Worth: $200 Million
Iconic singer Lionel Richie became a judge on ABC’s “American Idol” in 2017. His salary on the hit reality show has been kept under wraps, but the “Endless Love” crooner earned $15.7 million touring in 2019, according to Pollstar. He also debuted his new his and her fragrance collection, HELLO by Lionel Richie, in 2019.
Truly one of the greats, Richie has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. He’s also won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and four Grammys. Famous for songs like “Stuck on You” and “Dancing on the Ceiling,” he launched his Las Vegas residency, “Lionel Richie – All the Hits,” in 2016.
Katy Perry Net Worth: $330 Million
In 2017, Katy Perry joined the cast of ABC’s “American Idol” as a judge, where she reportedly earns $25 million per season, according to Variety. Known for hits like “Roar” and “Firework,” she earned $55.3 million touring in 2018 and $28.1 million on the road in 2017, according to Pollstar.
A global superstar, Perry’s music has been streamed 18 billion times, as well as reaching more than 40 million adjusted album sales and 125 million tracks.
Jennifer Lopez Net Worth: $400 Million
The multitalented Jennifer Lopez serves as both a judge and executive producer on NBC’s “World of Dance.” Her salary for the show hasn’t been revealed, but Forbes estimates her 2020 earnings at $47.5 million. This also includes earnings from endorsements like Versace and DSW, fragrance partnerships and acting.
Previously a judge on “American Idol,” Lopez has been a global pop star since her album “On the 6” debuted in 1999. She grossed $53.4 million touring in 2019 and $33.7 million performing in 2018, according to Pollstar. She also helmed a Las Vegas residency, “All I Have,” from 2016 to 2018. Next up, she’ll star in the film “Marry Me.”
Simon Cowell Net Worth: $600 Million
If you’re a fan of reality competition shows, you’re probably very familiar with Simon Cowell. In 2020 alone, he served as a judge on “America’s Got Talent,” “Britain’s Got Talent,” “The X-Factor U.K.” and “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.”
His individual salary for each project hasn’t been made public, but Forbes estimates his 2020 earnings at $51 million. This also includes income from his music label, which features talent like Camilla Cabello.
The record company executive rose to global fame when he joined “American Idol” as a judge in 2002. Also a mastermind behind the scenes, he created “The X-Factor” and serves as an executive producer on “America’s Got Talent.
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All net worth and salary information is from Celebrity Net Worth, unless otherwise noted, and is accurate as of Nov. 10, 2020.